It was designed for a United States Army Airforce unit (USAAF) bomb group. Fifty concrete hardstands were constructed justoff the encircling perimeter track. Two T2-type hangars were erected, one on each side of the airfield.Accommodation was provided for some 3,000 personnel in Nissen and other temporary type buildings.
The airfield was opened in September 1942 and was used by the USAAF Eighth Air Force.Bury St Edmunds was given USAAF designation Station 468 (BU).
The first USAAF group to use Bury St. Edmunds airfield was the 47th Bombardment Group (Light) arriving from Greensboro AAF North Carolina in mid-September 1942.
The 47th was equipped with the Douglas A - 20 "Havoc bomber, but the group quickly moved to RAF Horham, as Bury St. Edmunds was still under construction.
On 2 November the 47th was ordered to North Africa, departing for Medina Air Field 15 miles south of Casablanca in Morocco.
The 322d Bombardment Group (Medium) arrived in December 1942 fromDrane Army Airfield, Florida, a satellite installation of nearby MacDill Field, where the 322d originally began their pre-deployment training.
The group was assigned to the 3rd Bomb Wing and flew Martin B - Z6B/C Marauders.
Ongoing construction at Bury St. Edmunds forced two of the group's squadrons to locate to RAF Rattlesden. The group's aircraft did not arrive until late in March 1943. Once operational, the 322d flew two low-level bombing operations from Bury St. Edmunds. The first, on the 14th of May when it dispatched 12 planes for a minimum-level attack on an electrical generating plant near Ijtnuiden. This was the first operational combat mission flown by B-26s.
The second was a disastrous mission to the Netherlands on Monday, 17 May, when the group sent 11 aircraft on a similar operation from which none of the aircraft penetrating the enemy coast, returned. 60 crewmen were lost to flak and interceptors. Group morale was not improved when, on the 29th of May, a B-26 crashed onto the airfield killing the crew and damaging a hangar.
After these missions, the group was re-equipped and trained for medium-altitude operations for several weeks before returning to combat operations.
On the 13th of June, the 322nd moved to RAF Andrews Field in Essex.
The94th Bombarment Group (Heavy) arrived from RAF Earls Colne on the 15th of June 1943. The 94th was assigned to the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Square-A".
The group flew the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and served chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization throughout the war.
The 94th flew its first mission on the 13th of June 1943, bombing an airfield at Saint Omer. After that, the group attacked such strategic objectives as the port of St Nazaire, shipyards at Kiel, an aircraft component parts factory at Kassel, a synthetic rubber plant at Hanover, a chemical factory at ludwigshafen, marshalling yards at Frankfurt,loil facilities at Mersburg, and ball-bearing works at Eberhausen.
The 94th took part in the campaign of heavy bombers against the enemy aircraft industry during Big Week, between the 20th and the 25th of February, 1944.
Prior to D - Day in June 1944, they helped to neutralize V-weapon sites, airfields, and other military installations along the coast of France.
On the 6th of June, the group bombed enemy positions in the battle area to support the invasion of Normandy. During this time it struck troops and gun batteries to aid the advance of the Allies at Saint - Lo in July and at Brest in August.
After the war, the field was returned to the Royal Air Force in December 1945. On 11 September 1946, the facility was turned over to the Air Ministry. It was left unused for several months before being closed in 1948.
With the end of military control, Bury St Edmunds airfield's concreted areas were broken up with most of the site being returned to agriculture.
The old technical site has been developed into the Roughham Industrial Estate. The T2 hangars are still in use, for storage. The control tower was used for many years as a private dwelling, and has now been restored and is used as a museum.
The airfield, once again known as Rougham, now has two grass runways available for civil use. Gliding and model aircraft flying are frequent and several open-air events are organised each year.
Copyright © 2017-2021
Rougham Tower Association
Registered Charity No. 1069934
Rougham Control Tower Aviation Museum
Rougham Tower Avenue, Bury St Edmunds
No part of this web site (wording and photo's) may be reproduced without the express permission of the RTA Commitee.
Designed and Maintained by Paul Butler.